[OLPC Security] Grey Markets: differentiation of legitimately purchased laptops

Mike C. Fletcher mcfletch at vrplumber.com
Mon Oct 15 16:01:44 EDT 2007

Ka-Ping Yee wrote:
> On Mon, 15 Oct 2007, Mike C. Fletcher wrote:
> The availability of technologically equivalent but visibly different XOs
> is a nice solution that addresses both these arguments.  What creates
> the demand for XOs here is technology; what deters theft is a social
> norm based on appearance.  So it seems to me that differentiation on
> appearance gives everybody what they want.
Yes, this is the direction we want to explore.  Grey market mitigation 
is (IMO) important enough to warrant changes.  I'm trying very hard to 
make sure the changes proposed will not derail production.

>>     * specify the x-o graphic colour (on the lid) that will be delivered
>>       to the US for give-one-get-one as a single distinctive colour
>>       which is *not* part of the normal colour set.  Suggestions might
>>       be all-white, gold-and-silver, or all-black.
> Is it very difficult to just not have colour applied to some of them?
I believe the effect of that would be to have a white-on-white x-o 
graphic.  If you mean to change the overall green colour to white, I'm 
assuming we're well past that point.  The reason using the x-o graphic 
on the cover of the laptop as differentiator is attractive is because we 
already have mechanisms for changing that set of colours for each laptop 
(and have tested extensively with the resulting machines).  Reserving a 
single colour distinctive colour combination *should* just be a matter 
of altering the control file being fed to the machine to exclude that 
one combination (as far as I am aware).

We'll have to talk to the people working on production ASAP to make such 
a change happen, and confirm that it's doable.  First want to be sure 
it's a desirable thing and worth the effort, your comments are very 
helpful toward that end.


  Mike C. Fletcher
  Designer, VR Plumber, Coder

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